What is causing my skin rash?

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A skin rash is an area of skin that has become swollen, inflamed or irritated. A skin rash can include, bumps or sores, scaly or red skin, blisters and itchy patches or burning skin. Many medical conditions can cause a skin rash, they can occur right away or take time to develop. Please remember, the location, appearance and color of the rash are all very important in helping your doctor diagnose and treat your skin rash. Below are some of the most common rashes:

Chickenpox (Varicella)

    If you have a rash of itchy blisters on the face that spreads downward to cover the chest and back, it could be chickenpox (varicella). Chickenpox is usually accompanied by a fever. Treatment is aimed at at controlling the symptoms, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the fever and creams and cold compresses for the itching. If you are not sure if the rash is chickenpox, then remember to always see your doctor.

German Measles (Rubella)

    Another viral rash is German Measles (rubella). It causes a rash of red skin spots that also starts on the face and spreads downward to chest and back. The rash is itchy and is accompanied by a fever, sore throat, swollen glands, runny nose and headache. Treatment is also aimed at controlling the symptoms like chickenpox. In severe cases it is always a good idea to see your doctor.

Urticaria (Hives)

    Urticaria (Hives) is a rash that comes on suddenly and causes pale, pink, itchy swollen areas or welts on your skin that burns or stings. It can show up on any area of the body and last for a few days or a few weeks and may be caused by an allergic reaction to food or medication. Treatment is to avoid the allergen (cause) and take antihistamine medication. If you are unsure of the particular allergen (cause), again please see your regular doctor or allergist. Also find out from your insurance if you need a referral to see the Allergist.

Medication Induced Skin Rash

    A medication induced skin rash can be from an allergic reaction to a medication, side effect of a medication or from sensitivity to sunlight caused by the medication. This skin rash can occur right away after taking the medication or several hours later. Hives or skin bump eruptions, purple or red skin discoloration and scaly,  itchy and burning skin are all types of medication rashes. This skin rash can occur anywhere on the body, including the inside of the mouth. Treatment is to immediately stop taking the medication and manage the symptoms with antihistamines or steroids which should be prescribed by your regular doctor or Allergist.

Prickly heat (heat rash)

    Prickly heat (heat rash) causes small bumps that sting and itch and is caused when sweat gets blocked in the pores. It occurs where skin rubs skin under the arms, under the breasts , in the neck fold and groin. Treatment is to cool off, dry off and avoid the skin on skin friction.

Intertrigo

    Intertrigo is a skin rash that occurs in skin fold (under breasts, inner thighs, armpits, belly folds, buttocks). The cause for this rash is chaffing which causes red or reddish brown skin, raw, itchy and oozing skin, cracked or crusty skin. This skin rash gets infected with yeast or bacteria becomes raw and has a foul odor. This skin rash when infected may itch and ooze. This skin rash is more common in overweight people and those with diabetes. Treatment is to keep area dry and see your doctor who will diagnose the type of infection and treat with the appropriate steroidal creams and antibiotics.

Dermatitis

    Another word for eczema is dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin. It causes the skin to be itchy and dry. Scratching then makes the skin rash red and inflamed. This skin rash is NOT contagious. Treatment is to avoid the items your skin is sensitive to and use anti itch creams.

Contact dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis can be caused by any allergy causing substance that comes in contact with your skin. Allergic contact dermatitis is commonly seen with poison ivy, cosmetics and medications that come in contact with or are applied to the skin. This skin rash appears as red skin bumps, blisters, scales, crusts or sometimes sores and itching is common. Treatment is to wash skin and use anti-itch creams and in severe cases to see your doctor who will diagnose and treat the skin rash with the correct creams and steroids.